Classic Movies · Movies · Stuff You Should Know

It Started With (Christmas) Eve


At 4:00pm this afternoon, I will be winging my way over to “the House of Kat” to spend Christmas Eve and Day with my family, so except for a few bits and pieces that I’ve already preprogrammed for the blog, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear will be pretty much be silent for the next day or two. Christmas Eve dinner will consist of a workout with my sister’s fondue set, cooking portions of steak, chicken and shrimp in hot oil and then switching to dunking various confectionaries in chocolate afterward for dessert. I’ll also be spending the night on a newly purchased Aerostar air mattress my mother has purchased for the occasion, which probably means that with my bad back I’ll be impersonating Charles Laughton by breakfast time. (“Sanctuary! Sanctuary!”)

I promised to bake a small batch of cookies to take over so I’ll be getting started on that soon (don’t think I don’t hear you snickering out there) but I wanted to take a little bit of time to post a few items of interest before I venture into the kitchen.

Mr. and Mrs. Jack Benny

Shahn of sixmartinis and the seventh art fame asked me last year if I had or knew anyone who had access to a copy of a December 25, 1949 broadcast of The Hotpoint Holiday Hour which stars OTR’s beloved skinflint, Jack Benny, as Sheridan Whiteside in an adaptation of The Man Who Came to Dinner. I looked around the ‘Net, made some inquiries, rounded up the usual suspects, etc. but ultimately came up empty. This morning, some generous soul who chooses to remain anonymous has offered up a link to where the show can be downloaded; that person put the information in the comments section of my “It’s beginning to look like Christmas #3” post so I thought I’d repeat it here just in case anyone interested in the show doesn’t read the comments. (Again, many thanks to “Anonymous” for their generosity and a Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to them for the nice gift.)

Arnold Stang

On a corrective note, Mark Evanier of newsfromme has a nice post up discussing the history of how Arnold Stang was picked to be the voice of “the indisputable leader of the gang.” He also points out that a few blogs (he doesn’t mention any names, but I’m guilty all the same) have erroneously credited the late performer with vocalizing “Shorty” in more Popeye cartoons than he actually did in their obits/tributes. According to Mark, there were three cartoons featuring the Shortster as the spinach-eating sailor’s sidekick—Happy Birthdaze (1943), The Marry-Go-Round (1943), and Moving Aweigh (1944)—and Stang only voiced Shorty in the latter of these (the other two featured Popeye himself, Jack Mercer, as Shorty’s voice). I could have sworn there were more cartoons with Shorty—it’s sort of like thinking Stuart Margolin was in every episode of The Rockford Files, even though he wasn’t—but Mr. E is the acknowledged authority on subjects like this, so I sit corrected.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce

Finally, I wanted to make certain to remind everyone (Stacia of She Blogged by Night was also kind enough to give everyone a heads up) that TCM will kick off its Sherlock Holmes salute on Christmas night beginning at 8pm—the cable channel is capitalizing on the release of the new film (directed by Guy Ritchie) which goes into general release that same day. A Facebook friend made the observation that the trailers for the Robert Downey-Jude Law flick made it look sort of like The Wild Wild West (I wasn’t certain if he meant the TV series—which could only be a good thing—or the 1999 theatrical film, which would make it very, very bad) but from reading Stephanie Zacharek’s review at it sounds like it might be worth a look-see. Nevertheless, I will be spending most of my Christmas getting my Basil Rathbone-Nigel Bruce fix; the only downside in the TCM festival is that they won’t be showing The Woman in Green (1945) in the lineup (fortunately it’s in the public domain but I’d still like a better copy) which means I will have to inform my mother that she cannot sell her MPI Sherlock Holmes box sets on eBay. (She’s serious about this, which is incredible because she’s a bigger Holmesian than I am. I once told Phil Schweier—who once invited me to attend a little get-together of “Baker Street Irregulars” in Savannah—that he should ask my mom instead.)

Anyway, here’s the TCM line-up:

December 25, Friday
08:00 PM The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
09:30 PM The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)
11:00 PM The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
01:15 AM Sherlock Holmes’ Fatal Hour (1931)
02:45 AM The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
04:15 AM A Study in Terror (1965)

December 26, Saturday
06:00 AM Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942)
07:15 AM Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942)
08:30 AM Sherlock Holmes in Washington (1943)
09:45 AM Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)
11:00 AM The Spider Woman (1944)
12:15 PM The Scarlet Claw (1944)
01:30 PM The Pearl of Death (1944)
02:45 PM Sherlock Holmes in the House of Fear (1945)
04:00 PM Pursuit to Algiers (1945)
05:15 PM Sherlock Holmes in Terror by Night (1946)
06:30 PM Sherlock Holmes in Dressed to Kill (1946)

And on TCM’s Silent Sunday Nights at 12:00 midnight EST, they’ll be showing the 1922 version of Sherlock Holmes starring John Barrymore—a movie I am positively pumped about seeing. Well, those cookies aren’t just going to make themselves…but I wanted to make sure I wished every one of you who continue to read and support Thrilling Days of Yesteryear the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Year’s! Feliz Navidad!

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